Once the members of the High Country Garden Club are done beautifying their own gardens, they use their skills to help others. In the past, members of the club have assisted elderly residents with yard work and the children at the Payson Community Kids program with their facility's garden.
Members maintain the garden at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and those around the First Southern Baptist Church, at the corner of West Bonita and South Colcord.
The group also does a great deal of work at the Northern Gila County Fair's horticultural and agricultural exhibits.
The club counts at least eight Master Gardeners among its members and that is where a great deal of community service is provided. They serve as a resource for anyone with questions about gardening in the Rim Country.
The High Country Garden Club was organized in 1997, according to Marilyn Castleman, one of three or four charter members still active with the group.
Initially, the club was part of the Gardeners of America, but broke away to become a hometown club a few years after it started.
There are now about 50 members.
The club meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at First Southern Baptist Church. Guests are always welcome. Dues for the club are $20 for singles and $25 for couples, Castleman said.
For more information, call the club president, Doug Herbster, (928) 472-9882.
High Country Xeriscape Council
Xeriscape philosophy combines water-saving principles to maximize aesthetic vegetation. According to the Arizona Depart-ment of Water Re-sources, it employs seven horticulture principles: Landscape planning, plant selection, limited lawn coverage, effective irrigation, soil improvement, mulching and maintenance.
The HCXCA began work on a demonstration garden in early 2003 at Gila Community College.
It was designed by members of the council to focus on realistic landscape design for the homeowner, incorporating the use of native and other low water-use plants; water harvesting techniques; fire-wise and fire retardant plantings; wildlife habitat and control; and educational programs.
Creating a sense of natural space and beauty, and proper maintenance and care of appropriate plants for the region, the garden is open and accessible to the public at all times.
Plant identification and information signage, walkways and benches, along with an information kiosk are part of this special feature in the college's courtyard.
The demonstration garden is a living laboratory, with Xeriscape Council members logging the progress of plants, the amount of water needed to sustain them and evidence of wildlife in the area.
The garden opened to the public in October 2003.
One of the founders of the council, Ed Lydic died Oct. 22, 2003, but his memory is living on in multiple ways in the Rim Country.
Books on xeriscape techniques from his estate, and donated by others as well, are part of the Payson Public Library's collection, all given in Lydic's memory by the High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona.
The low water-use demonstration garden at Gila Community College in Payson was renamed for Lydic last summer.
It is now the Ed Lydic Memorial Xeriscape Garden. Call (928) 468-0727 for information about the council.
High Country Garden Club
Meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of the month at First Southern Baptist Church, 302 S. Ash St.
For more information, contact Doug Herbster, (928) 472-9882.
High Country Xeriscape Council
The High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona is looking for new members interested in garden strategies that produce a beautiful landscape with low water-use. Visit the demonstration garden at Gila Community College. Browse the free literature available in the kiosk. Please call (928) 468-0727 if you want information about future events or meetings.
Mission: The High Country Xeriscape™ Council of Arizona is a nonprofit, educational organization whose sole purpose is to support water conservation methods in the home and business landscape setting in the towns of Payson, Pine, and Strawberry, Ariz. and the surrounding areas. This site holds information as to water-wise plantings and gardening methods as well as useful and/or interesting links to other informational web sites involved in the saving of our natural resources.